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 The Times

May 16, 2000

The Times Diary


Highly debatable invitation

CAMBRIDGE University is bracing itself for an almighty thunderclap. David Irving, the anti-Semite historian, has been invited - against the wishes of almost every Fenland dweller - to take part in a Union Society debate next term.

The chorus of disapproval, which is gaining steam daily, is being led by Richard Evans (see panel below), the don who testified against the historian at his recent trial. "The Union is inviting him to speak in the knowledge he is a neo-Fascist politician," he tells me. "I would not be willing to debate with him since I am not a politician and he is not a historian."

However, this has not fazed the Union president, Peter Abbott, who defends the invitation by saying: "We had Colonel Gaddafi once." All very well, but he should be careful. In March, following similar uproar, the Oxford Union cancelled an Irving appearance, fearing it would lead to trouble. (It did, the Union president found himself deluged with hostile e-mails from Irving's neo-Nazi supporters across Europe.)


Suggestion: fax a letter to The Times at +(44) 20 7782 5046 or email them:

May 16, 2000

Website fact: The stamina of the defence team in the Lipstadt libel action was aided by a six million dollar slushfund provided by Steven Spielberg, Edgar J Bronfman, and the American Jewish Committee, which enabled them to pay 21 lawyers and "experts". A million pound lollipop was figuratively brandished from the defence lawyers' table throughout the trial, and all those who behaved got a lick at it; their experts like the "scholars" Prof. Evans, Prof. Longerich and others were paid up to £125,000 ($200,000) each (on top of the academic salaries they continued to draw) to testify as they did. Nobody was paying for Mr Irving. His defence witnesses testified without payment, from conviction. [Help!]

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